Graduates are happy to renege on job offers

Graduates are happy to renege on job offers


Milkround’s annual survey gives some great insights as to the current mindset of today’s graduates. But there’s some worrying trends emerging too

Milkround’s Candidate Compass Report is worth a read. Having surveyed 5,319 current university graduates and recent graduates, it’s a great sense check of the mood of the graduate market. Sure, there are some elements of the report that we’re aware of. For example, 76% of women surveyed expect a starting salary of £25,000 or less, compared with 58% of men. A trend that’s been widely acknowledged amongst other reputable industry experts.

There’s also plenty around career choice influences, soft skills, social mobility, decoding job descriptions and company benefits.

But what particularly piqued our interest was the piece around internships and the reneging of job offers.

Let’s tackle internships first. More than half of internships (53%) result in job offers. It’s reassuring to see that there’s a real value for students in dedicating their time to gaining work experience and internships whilst at university. Yet, what’s interesting is that 72% of the people who received an offer from internship declined it. What we’re not sure from the report is why. Is it just that they had a negative experience? Or, is it something more?

In the general graduate job market, some 34% of graduates have declined a job offer, whilst a third have declined two or more. 58% of those surveyed put the reason they’d declined the job down to the fact that they lacked the skills. 19% said the role wasn’t for them. 7% said it was due to salary and less than 1% cited that the benefits were unsatisfactory.

But there’s also a worrying trend that graduates would be happy to renege on an offer once they’d accepted. In fact, 70% felt it was acceptable to do this. And the reality is that 30% have actually done this.  Of that 30%, 64% said it was because they didn’t know how to decline; 22% received a better offer; and 9% changed their mind.

And that’s quite telling. It’s easy to forget that these candidates are still relatively young. But it must be incredibly frustrating to employers who have dedicated vast resources (both in terms of finances and time), to find that graduates pull out at the last minute – or in some cases – simply don’t turn up. All because they don’t have the confidence to say no.

On that matter, Milkround has some solid, practical advice to employers. And their guidance is this:

1)      Engage with the candidates. Don’t leave them hanging and give them room to doubt. Get them in. Let them confront what’s niggling them and talk to their hiring managers. Don’t let them make the ‘first day’ a bigger hurdle than it need be. It might be just the contact they need to keep them on track.

2)      Give them time to think. Don’t pressure them. This has to be right for you both. By allowing students the freedom to make a decision it’s more likely to be the right one. Which will save a lot of hassle further down the line.

3)      Assess their current situation. Understand what other offers they have / where they are in the process with other companies and if they pose a risk to renege at a later stage. Forewarned is forearmed.

4)      Normalise declining an offer. Be open with candidates about only accepting an offer if it’s right for them. And what they should do if they change their minds.

Nobody’s pretending it’s rocket science, but extending that duty of care to beyond the offer, might just be beneficial to everyone in the long run.

And when it comes to internships and reneging on job offers, here’s what Francesca Parkinson at Milkround has to say: “It’s well known the benefits that an internship can bring to a CV, adding depth and on-the-job experience that complements academic qualifications, and our research shows that there is now a clear, direct link between internships and job offers at the same company.

"Although the majority of those offered jobs from their internships turn them down, the fact students are thinking about their future while in academia shows a real savviness amongst today’s graduates. This bodes well for their future – and for businesses looking to hire top talent straight out of university.

"Employers who want to minimise the number of candidates reneging on offers can keep in regular contact with graduates ahead of their start date. They could also keep the time between the offer and the start date as short or possible, or even invite their new employee to a social event ahead their first day, which is also a great ice breaker!”


Wednesday, 6 September 2017

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